kitchen table

love the hair
November 28, 2006, 11:58 am
Filed under: Feminism, Gender

I feel like all I’ve done lately is post photographs but I couldn’t let this one slide because it’s just, well, great. For years my mother half-joked about shaving my armpits while I slept so as soon as Anke gets a poster-sized version, guess what’s going up above my bed?

Originally uploaded by Miss Linotte 


cube be damned
November 20, 2006, 2:16 pm
Filed under: Feminism

Her book doesn’t come out until February but Michelle Goodman’s blog, Anti 9-to-5, is up and running–a good taste of what’s to come.

ripple effect: the saga of contraception denial continues

For those of you following the Biting Beaver’s emergency contraception saga, you will be interested to know that she has, in fact, become pregnant. So because a pharmacist wouldn’t prescribe her EC, she now has to have an abortion. Again, are these “I’ve got a moral objection to sex” pharmacists completely bat-shit or what?

BB has got a frank and honest post up about her feelings on the matter. Part of her rage is the continuous message she receives about the apparent worthiness of the fetus inside her compared to her own existence and the well-being of her three children.

How often can one person hear that a fetus is more important than their own life? Than the lives of their children? How many times can you be reminded that you are, to them at least, a sack of shit and not worthy of even living?

Am I cold hearted about this? You bet your ass I am. I’m angry that my life is apparently worth so little because I had sex. I’m angry that people would literally try to fucking murder me by sending me a list of fatal herbs via a ‘helpful’ email. And that is to say nothing about the picket lines I will most likely have to cross. That speaks nothing to the shame that this society will attempt to thrust upon me for this situation. It speaks nothing to the anger and rage I feel that the penis which was actually attached to the condom apparently becomes utterly invisible.

Read the whole thing here.

people’s power: anorexics & the merits of tabloid coverage
October 3, 2006, 11:15 pm
Filed under: America, Feminism, friends, Gender

This whole skinny model, Hollywood’s skeleton chic thing has been all over the blogs, tabloids, and mainstream press lately. Still, I feel inclined to comment.

As I said to Brynn this weekend, if I was 16 and had an eating disorder, I would see the most recent cover of People magazine and buy it not as a resource for getting help, for a mine of inspiration. I know this because at 16 I did exactly that. The more photographs I saw of disgustingly skinny women, the more determined I was to get there myself. “It shows you that someone else is doing it so therefore it’s possible,” Brynn said.

One of the sidebar stories-within-a-story to the cover article featured a then & now of actress Portia de Rossi. I actually didn’t know she suffered from anorexia–must’ve been during college when I disappeared from the land of television–and wow, she was really sick. Included in the text next to her photos are quotes from de Rossi about how she did it and how she recovered.

“See,” I said to Brynn, “I would’ve read the ‘I ate 300 calories–a lot of jello’ part and told myself that from now on 300 calories and jello is my goal.” I would have copied her method to improve my own. Fucked up, I know, but probably not that uncommon among women with eating disorders.

In fact, the National Eating Disorders Association suggests on their website that recovering anorexics or bulimics censor the details of their own stories when talking with a person suffering from an ED:

Don’t provide ‘tips’ or play the numbers game. “I ate only XXX calories a day” or “He took as many as XX laxatives at a time” can turn a well-intentioned story into ‘how-to instructions’ for someone to follow.

All of this makes People‘s attempt at a responsible cover depicting the pressure young women feel to be emaciated–let’s not say “thin” here, it’s beyond that at this point–seem insincere at best. One would think that if People were truly interested in addressing the problem of eating disorders, they’d consider not running photographs of these sick women at all. Wait until they’re healthy. Tell their publicists that until the weight comes back on, only photographs showing them above 105 pounds will be published. I doubt that would jive with People‘s advertisers but if they’re serious about being a semi-serious gossip rag–hey, they write stories about “normal” people too–then they should consider taking on some of the responsibility. That cover doesn’t get them off the hook, it just sinks ’em in deeper.

Denied: feminist blogger plays 20-questions & still comes up short
September 20, 2006, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Blogging, conservative craziness, Feminism, Gender, Reproductive Rights

Biting Beaver has a detailed report up of her recent attempt to get emergency contraception. Not only was she asked questions about her marital status, fidelity, and number of children, she was made to answer personal questions about the sexual act causing her to need EC.

Was it rape? They wanted to know. Did she experience “trauma?”

“No. I have not been raped. The condom broke”. I state, becoming very frustrated at this point and wondering what the hell is going on.

“Ok, well ummm….Are you married?” he mumbles the words so low I can barely hear them.

Suddenly I get this image of the poor nurse standing at the hospital reading from a cue card that was given to him by a doctor.

“No.” I state plainly. “I am not married. I’ve been in a relationship for several years and I have three children, I don’t want a fourth.” I respond tersely.

“Oh, I see.” He says and then he hurries on, “Well, see. *I* understand. I want you to know that I understand what you’re saying. But see, the problem is that we have 4 doctors here right now but only one of them ever writes EC prescriptions. But see, the thing is that he’ll interview you and see if you meet his criteria. Now, I called the pharmacy but I also talked to him and well….*clears throat*….you can come down and try to get it. You know, if you meet his criteria he’ll give you a prescription, I mean, there’s really no harm in trying.” the nurse trails off, his voice falters as I realize what I’m being told.

The whole piece is up at Biting Beaver’s blog. It’s worth the read.

Via Feministing.

dELIAs joins the likes of Abercrombie in exploiting its female customers
September 3, 2006, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Activism, Feminism, Gender

Boyfriend and I were at the mall yesterday during the Ernesto-sponsored rainstorm—a bad decision on many fronts—when a nauseating discovery was made at Delia’s:


He actually pointed it out to me, saying something along the lines of, “What the fuck?” Folks might remember all the buzz last year when a group of girls, otherwise known as Girls as Grantmakers, proposed a girlcott of a slew of Abercrombie & Fitch’s t-shirts. With slogans such as, “Who needs brains when you have these?” strategically printed over the shirt’s front, A&F was joining a long line of product-placers who have caught flack for valuing profit over gender equality. (My personal fave is the “Math is Hard” Barbie.)

Delia’s, which this author remembers more as a must-have catalog from high school days than a store in the mall, has long been cashing in on “alternative” fashion trends and dispatching the lace-up combat boots/fishnet tights/plaid mini-skirts to every dare-to-be-different girl in the country. Unfortunately, this ongoing vintage-logo trend in t-shirts has them stooping as low as their friends over at A&F. The “I’m tight like spandex!” tees are blantantly advertising the wearer’s virginity, sexualizing her innocence as creepily as a kiddie-porn producer. It’s nasty, nasty. Once again, girls are being told that their bodies are the most valuable thing they have to offer. And that’s not tight, I mean, err, cool. Yeah, that doesn’t work there either.

Anyway, here’s an idea: write to or call Delia’s, tell them how unfashionable sexism is, and let’s raise a fuss…

dELIAs, Inc. Executive Offices
435 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 807-9060

UPDATE: Carolyn brought to my attention that we could leave a comment on the website. Go! go!

my adventures with methylprednisolone (and birth control too while I’m at it)
August 23, 2006, 12:49 am
Filed under: Feminism, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights

So I got sick last week, really sick. What started as a cold turned into an infection. I entered that tricky place–the one I often get to when I’m ill–in which I find myself both wanting the doctor to fix me and becoming suspicious of our medical system.

Anyway, I was so ill though last week that I crossed over, became practically supplicant to my physician, and ended up filling prescriptions for Claritin (10 mg pill) and anti-biotics. (A small, relevant aside: As a recipient of the state-sponsored medical care, Healthy NY, I shelled out a $20 copay each time I visited the doc as well as the full cost of prescription drugs. There is a Healthy NY plan that includes drugs but I can’t really afford more than my HMO’s single-payer, drug-free plan of $147.33 a month). After some negotiating with the pharmacist, I took home a generic version of Claritin and a less expensive anti-biotic–the original drug was $47, the second $12.

Within 24 hours it was apparent that something wasn’t right with me and my drugs. I developed a gross/cool rash all over my body and on Wednesday morning, landed right back in the Doctor’s office. He took one look at me and instructed that I stop all medications: I had an allergic reaction to one of them, at the very least. He then handed me a pack of Methylprednisolone (steroids, for us lay people) and told me to take them as a boost for my immune system. With a couple warnings about bone thinning and possible weight gain, I started popping.

The only side effect I noticed that first day was trouble falling asleep. The next afternoon however, a casual observer would’ve thought I’d done speed. At 7:30 that night, on a minimal amount of food, I was dragging my boyfriend out of the Target parking lot with a bag full of craft supplies. T-shirts! We were making t-shirts! Let’s go! Let’s go! He looked at me and said I should probably calm down. He told me I had “‘roid rage.”

On the drive home, a couple hours later and still hyper, I read aloud the possible side effects of methylprednisolone, as listed in the accompanying booklet: “Psychic derangements may appear…ranging from euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and severe depression, to frank psychotic manifestations.”

Frank psychotic manifestations? Hey, now.

I made the decision that night to take less than the prescribed dose which may or may not have been a great idea. My hesitation is in part informed by a negative experience I had with the popular birth control pill, Ortho Tri-Cyclen. I had something of an epiphany last year when I went Ortho after a 3.5 year absence; I hardly made it a month before I decided again that it wasn’t my bag. Unfortunately, my brief return was enough to send me into an intense depression, one that hit out of nowhere and made me, well, crazy. (Not an uncommon experience for women on the pill, by the way; this is lore among all my women friends, not just the hippie/feminist ones.) The depression was so familiar and specific–it was the same kind of sudden, pathological self-hatred that triggered, quite out of nowhere, an eating disorder in high school. As I stood last year at the mirror, looking at my body with newfound disgust, it dawned on me that just a couple weeks before my eating disorder suddenly hit, I started taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen. Only then I didn’t have that revelation to save me, to let me know this mood and its damage would pass.

One of the most frustrating parts of the whole experience, stretching from the days of the eating disorder until the revelation of its trigger years later, is the lack of connection between the three health care professionals who treated me during that time. My physician, psychologist, and caseworker at the Eating Disorders Association never suggested that pumping my body full of hormones could affect my mood, could fuck with my mental health–they all knew I was on birth control, I told them. I

So when I read last week that the steroid I was on could cause frank, psychotic manifestations, my instinct was to quit cold turkey. Further reading of the booklet told me that it was worse to drop off completely, better to go gradually. I’ve been taking the pills guiltily ever since because I also secretly love the way they make me feel. This scares me too.

Today was my first day without any steroid (I’ve got half of the free pack left) and I’m back in that place of limbo: trust and suspicion, desiring and knowing better. To pop or not.